Authors: Gail Herman
Tags: #Chapter Book
Copyright © 2006 Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All rights reserved. Published by Disney Press, an imprint of Disney Book Group. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. For information address Disney Press, 114 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10011-5690.
F YOU HEAD
toward the second star on your right and fly straight on till morning, you’ll come to Never Land, a magical island where mermaids play and children never grow up.
When you arrive, you might hear something like the tinkling of little bells. Follow that sound and you’ll find Pixie Hollow, the secret heart of Never Land.
A great old maple tree grows in Pixie Hollow, and in it live hundreds of fairies and sparrow men. Some of them can do water magic, others can fly like the wind, and still others can speak to animals. You see, Pixie Hollow is the Never fairies’ kingdom, and each fairy who lives there has a special, extraordinary talent.
Not far from the Home Tree, nestled in the branches of a hawthorn, is Mother Dove, the most magical creature of all. She sits on her egg, watching over the fairies, who in turn watch over her. For as long as Mother Dove’s egg stays well and whole, no one in Never Land will ever grow old.
Once, Mother Dove’s egg
broken. But we are not telling the story of the egg here. Now it is time for Fira’s tale.…
IRA STUMBLED UP THE STAIRS
to her bedroom in the Home Tree. Her wings dragged on the ground. Her fairy glow had dimmed to a faint glimmer.
Fira was a light-talent fairy. Usually, she glowed especially brightly. But that day she felt too tired to use extra light energy. She felt too tired to fly. Too tired to do anything.
She yawned and stretched her arms wide. Fira had been working hard lately. All the light-talent fairies had. It was a busy time of year. The bushes and plants in Pixie Hollow were bursting with berries and seeds. Harvest-talent fairies worked late into the night, gathering the plentiful crops. So the light-talent fairies’ special glows were needed more than ever.
There were celebrations and festivals, where light talents put on dazzling light shows and performed shadow-puppet plays. And long after the sun had set each day, Fira and her friends helped light the orchards and gardens as the harvest-talent fairies worked.
Just that day, the fairies had finished the harvesting. Overflowing baskets filled the Home Tree kitchen and pantry. The work was done. Now Fira was looking forward to a long nap.
Finally, Fira reached her room. Kicking off her petal shoes, she flopped facedown on her bed.
The late-afternoon sunlight shone through Fira’s bedroom window. Even though she was ready to sleep—
more than ready
Fira thought—she didn’t close her pine-needle blinds. A light-talent fairy always liked to have a little sunshine brightening a room.
Fira slipped under her dandelion-fluff blanket. All around Pixie Hollow, she knew, Never fairies were working and playing. Cooking-talent fairies prepared the evening meal in the Home Tree kitchen. Art-talent fairies painted and sculpted in their studios. Wing-washing talents cleaned fairies’ wings. Fairies milked the dairy mice in the dairy barn and herded caterpillars in the field.
I’m not doing anything.
She closed her eyes. Before she had another thought, she fell fast asleep.
Fira flew out of bed, bumping her head on the ceiling.
“What?” she cried. “What is it?”
“I’m sorry, Fira.” Spring, a message-talent fairy, poked her head through the open window. “I didn’t know you were sleeping. You’re needed at the Firefly Thicket.”
Fira sat down on her bed. “What’s going on?” she asked sleepily.
“I’m not sure. But there’s some sort of firefly trouble.”
Spring gave an apologetic wave and took off.
“Firefly trouble,” Fira repeated. That didn’t sound good.
Each night, a group of specially trained fireflies flew around Pixie Hollow. They landed on tiny torches, giving light to the fairies and sparrow men.
These fireflies were Fira’s responsibility. She took pride in training them, and training them well. She liked being in charge. But just this once, maybe, she could ask Luna or Iridessa to take over. It would be so nice to keep sleeping.
No, no, no.
Fira shook her head.
If you want something done right, you should do it yourself,
she thought. Not that she didn’t trust her friends. Of course she did. But still…
She sighed. If only she could rest a little while longer. Light-talent fairies’ glows were weakest when they were tired. Fira hated when her glow was dim. She liked to light up a room. Maybe her short nap had been enough. She stood and gathered her strength.
Then she flew out into the afternoon.
Fira slowed as she got close to Havendish Stream. The Firefly Thicket was in a dense, leafy spot along the far bank. Fira darted around a clump of bushes. Then she spied the entrance, a wide opening in the branches.
“Hello?” she called softly. She ducked her head inside. It was always dark back there. That was why the fireflies liked it.
was Fira’s nickname. Other fairies joked that she loved light like a moth loved a candle flame.
“Over here, Moth.” Beck, a friend of Fira’s, waved her over. Beck was an animal-talent fairy. She could communicate with all the animals in Never Land.
“I’m glad you’re here, Fira,” said Elixa, a healing-talent fairy. “You need to know what’s going on.”
Fira gazed around. The fireflies rested fitfully on branches. Their lights flickered dimly. Some didn’t light at all.
Beck patted the wings of one firefly. Elixa placed a leaf compress on another.
“They have the no-fire flu,” Elixa explained. “They won’t be able to light Pixie Hollow tonight.”
Fira groaned. It was almost dusk. Already the light-talent fairies would be hanging glowworm lanterns. But the lanterns were only decoration. The fireflies did the real work of lighting Pixie Hollow. This was trouble, indeed.
Beck went to her side. “I know you’re tired from all the harvesting,” she said quietly, trying not to disturb the fireflies. “But is there anything you can do?”
Fira straightened her wings. “Of course there’s something I can do!”
She would organize all the light-talent fairies. They would need to light the places fireflies usually brightened: gardens, groves, busy sky routes. And the next night a full moon would be out, which meant there would be a dance in the fairy circle. The light-talent fairies would have to light that, too. There was so much work! She had to get going!
With a quick wave good-bye, Fira set off once again. Her mind raced with details. Which fairies would light the fairy-dust mill? Which ones would cover the forest? And who would light the fairy circle?
It was a lot to ask of fairies who were already tired.
It will be all right,
Fira told herself.
We can manage for now. But what if the fireflies are still sick tomorrow?